We at Ethos believe the humble mushroom to be one of the finer things mother nature was ingenious enough to bless us with. A product of pure chance, these “gifts” (our chef’s consistently refer to them as such) only manifest under opportune conditions. Only particular climates, soil types and flora allow for the inoculation, incubation, precipitation, drainage and filtration required to let these little delicious spores see life above ground. Luckily for us, our most recent field trip to somewhere (secret) near Karanja saw ideal circumstances for a plentiful mushroom harvest. As a direct contrast to the hustle of a busy restaurant, our team volunteered for a peaceful moment under the pine trees, on a quest for mushroom perfection.
The prize was a bounty of fungi native to coniferous forests called Suillus lutes, otherwise known as sticky buns or more commonly, slippery jacks, mostly for their brown gelatinous caps. Just a few steps into the trees at our chosen spot revealed hundreds peeking out from their pine needle blankets, and the team was soon captivated and silenced by the search for those that were of restaurant quality. For those interested, our guidelines limited those that had not absorbed too much moisture, resulting in discolouring and less resistance in texture. The ideal mushroom is the lightest, brightest and ‘fluffiest’ (see main photograph).
It is here we must note that while quite the idyllic way to spend a day, particularly when the results are seen (and tasted), this activity is not for those unwilling to do their research and practice caution at all times. While mushrooms can be simply delicious, they can also be deadly poisonous. Some, in their ethereal beauty aren’t shy about letting their noxious status be known (see below), others are less upfront. It is imperative you know what you are looking for when hunting for fungi and have infallible assurance that what you are eating is edible and safe.